Bead blasting is the operation of propelling, typically with compressed air, a stream of abrasive material (blast media) against a surface to affect the surface finish.

The terminology 'bead blasting' is often generically used alongside a range of blast process names such as: sand blasting, grit blasting, shot blasting, grit blasting, abrasive blasting and soda blasting for a variety of 'blast' processes. But a more specific definition of actual 'bead blasting' is where the blast cabinet is using either glass or plastic 'beads' to alter the substrate surface.

Glass bead blasting tends to be used for: cleaning, peening, sheen surface finishing and general cleaning of tarnished components. Whereas plastic bead blasting can be used for a wide range of cleaning, deburring, deflashing and paint stripping applications.